History - About Us - BRANDNER Schiffahrt

About the history and the origin

BRANDNER Schiffahrt has a long tradition of operating for over 200 years on the Danube. The Brander family first began operating on the Danube. It initially began with timber transport on rafts going to Vienna and Budapest. Freight and tankers came later on. From the mid-1970s, focus was more on hydraulic engineering.


It took five years to build the first ship by dint of the labour of the three Brandner brothers. Brandner Brothers Shipping expanded quickly at the time. The three brothers were involved mainly in tanker shipping until the mid-1970s and were the only private shipping company with 160 staff doing business alongside and in competition with the State-owned companies. The latter’s pricing policy eventually left the brothers with no other choice but to sell their entire fleet of tankers in 1976 to the State. During the ensuing years, they focused on the existing hydraulic engineering sector, and started operating dredgers, an unfamiliar sight on the on the Danube until then, and used them mainly for power plant construction. In 1982, the company employed 223 people.


Most of these vessels were sold in 1986 and the three brothers developed a multi-purpose barge aptly named Drei Gebrüder, the Three Brothers, based on their years of river experience on the Danube. This all-round vessel had the biggest load capacity on the entire Danube. In the following 26 years, they expanded into the gravel extraction, sand, gravel, granite, hydraulic, and hydrography sectors. The family-run company built up a reputation as a specialist in hydraulic engineering on the Danube and far beyond Austria’s borders. This part of the business, Brandner Wasserbau, was sold in early 2012.


As early as 1986, there was an improvement in the passenger-shipping sector. When the State-owned shipping company let it be known that it would cease navigating the Linz-Melk route, the three Brandner brothers Ludwig, Franz and Josef bought two Dutch passenger ships with the intention of using them in that sector. However, this plan never came to fruition because of the legal situation on the Austrian part of the Danube at the time. In 1992, the brothers and a partner in the tourism sector tendered for the State-owned company itself.


On 30 September 1995, Barbara Brandner and her sister acquired the MS Austria from a Dutch ship-owner who had dropped anchor in Wallsee. The purchase of the ship was the family’s long-held desire to venture into passenger shipping.


Within a short time, a new marketing concept was developed under which the interior of the MS Austria was completely redesigned in just a few weeks at its home port of Wallsee. As a result in April 1996, this beautiful and proud ship, complete with her golden crown began her career as the Königin der Wachau, the Queen of the Wachau. The handicap of not being allowed to dock at various stations under State authority turned into an advantage. The family-company’s nautical know-how was used to build the first of a total of 12 docking stations starting in Melk, Spitz and Krems. Technically sophisticated and pleasing to the eye, these docking stations became true calling cards for the link between land and water.


In May 1997, Wolfram Mosser-Brandner, a qualified engineer, and his wife Barbara Brandner, joined the family company. Wolfram became the manager of Brandner Wasserbau and also responsible for implementing important, strategic and operational measures in both the BRANDNER Schiffahrt and Donau Shipping companies. In 1999, BRANDNER Schiffahrt, which by then owned a total of 10 shipping stations from Linz to Vienna, founded Donau Shipping Stations in partnership with the State of Lower Austria - and the municipality of Korneuburg. This marked the first public-private partnership on the Danube, which had the responsibility of administering and marketing 38 stations between Linz and Budapest along the river.


Since 1995, the management and development of BRANDNER Schiffahrt with the two ships MS Austria and ms austria princess is in the hands of Mag. Barbara Brandner; since 2013 in cooperation with her husband, Dipl.-Ing. Wolfram Mosser-Brandner. The 100% family owned company is the leading company in passenger shipping.


Shipping, the Wachau and the wine - a substantial connection.
With the acquisition of a small and fine Winery in Rossatz, situated on the right bank of the Danube, BRANDNER Schiffahrt sets new standards with regard to sustainability.